The NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (REU)

NSF_LogoThe NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates Program (REU)

Participation in REU summer research programs is essential in order to compete successfully for distinguished scholarships and fellowships in the STEM Disciplines.

  • The term Research Experience for Undergraduates Programs or REUs is used to describe programs providing supervised undergraduate research experiences.  This term is used by federal agencies and by private foundations and associations.  The largest of the REU programs is the one sponsored by the National Science Foundation.  What follows refers to the summer NSF REU program.
  • The NSF Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the NSF.  REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or research projects specifically designed for the REU program.  The programs may be focused on a particular discipline or academic department or may be interdisciplinary or multi-department programs with a coherent intellectual theme.
  • Students do not apply directly to the NSF to participate in summer REU activities.  Instead students can Google the words Search for an REU Site or go to  Once there, students can examine the research opportunities by subject area.  Students then contact the individual sites for information and application materials   A contact person is listed on each site.
  • Typically, an REU group consists of 10 or so undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution.  Each student is affiliated with a specific research project, in which he/she works closely with faculty, post docs, graduate student researchers and others.  Students are granted stipends and in many cases, assistance with housing and travel.  One of the benefits of participating in this program beyond the research experience is that students applying for Prestigious Scholarships and Fellowship and for graduate admission can obtain letters of recommendation from distinguished researchers in world class institutions.  That can have a significant positive impact on their selection and/or admission.
  • A number of recent CUNY Prestigious Scholarship recipients and applicants have participated in REU programs in colleges and universities such as Amherst, Princeton, MIT, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC San Diego, and Northern Arizona State University.